Child custody is a very emotionally exhausting experience for any parent. These difficult times can sometimes affect the ability to act rationally and change normally caring parents into people who will do anything to win custody of their child. Approaching a child custody matter without putting your child's interests first can have very dire consequences on the results of your case, even if you have the best family law attorney.
Keep in mind these do’s and don'ts to present yourself in the best light in child custody cases.
Be willing to work with your ex-partner
Showing willingness to work with your ex shows that you're more concerned for the wellbeing of your child rather than what happened in the past. Believe it or not, some parents lose child custody because they've demonstrated unwillingness to work with their ex. While you and your ex may not have parted on good terms, you need to show the family courts that you're mature enough to set aside differences for the sake of your child.
Do work with an experienced family law attorney
Hiring a family law attorney can be expensive but it's a worthy investment. A good family law attorney can offer legal advice and recommend the best way to go about your child custody case. Not sure if you can afford a lawyer? You can schedule a free consultation with a law firm in Cairns to discuss your options.
Do prepare sufficient documentation
If you genuinely think your child will not be safe with your ex, make it a point to document your interactions, as well as their interactions with your child. This is especially true if they have a history of physical, emotional, or substance abuse. Your family law attorney can help you prepare a list of documents that you will need in court.
Remember, when you give evidence in court, you are under oath. If you’re caught lying under oath, it is considered a criminal offence (perjury). Lying about even the smallest thing can be taken advantage of by your ex's lawyers and can ruin your credibility. Always tell the truth and make the judge believe in everything you say.
Don't bad mouth your ex
At best, bad mouthing your ex allows you to vent your anger. But it can leave a very negative impression not only on your child but to the court as well. Insulting your ex in front of your children can undermine their relationship with their other parent and result in serious emotional trauma. Worse, if your ex discovers it, they can include it in an affidavit to strengthen their argument as to why they should have custody. So no matter how tempting it is to bad mouth your ex, refrain from doing it at all costs.
Don't involve your kids
Child custody matters are a very sensitive matter and children may not yet have the mental or emotional capacity to understand what's going on. As much as possible, avoid sharing details with your child for now. Let their lives go on as it was before and don't place unnecessary burdens on them.
Don't give lengthy answers
When being cross-examined, always keep in mind to give the most concise, and honest answer you can give, even if it means saying only "yes". Don't say too much as it will give your ex's family law attorney an opportunity to trip you up.
Ultimately, the family courts will make a decision based on the best interests of your child or children. As such, make sure to present yourself in the best way and obtain legal advice early on. One of the most crucial steps you can do to help your case is to hire a family lawyer in Cairns. Family law attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies and challenges parents face in child custody matters and can guide you step by step. For a consultation or more information, get in touch with Marino Lawyers at (07) 4081 6700. We have experienced family lawyers in Cairns, Port Douglas, Edmonton, Gordonvale and Babinda.